Chemical dips for heavily tarnished brass?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by rondog, May 21, 2008.

  1. rondog

    rondog G&G Evangelist

    I have quite a few cases of assorted sizes that I've picked up hither and yon, and a lot of them are very heavily tarnished to a dark gray, almost black, from sitting in the dirt/weather for years. Can anybody recommend a safe chemical dip of some kind that I can soak these in to remove the tarnishing before tumbling?

    Something that won't hurt the brass itself or weaken it. I can probably beadblast them, but that's kinda drastic and not that effective, I've tried a few already. Sure would appreciate any good tips on a soaking solution!

  2. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    I can sugest not worrying about tarnish.Just be sure they are clean from residue.You will be throwing them away soon anyway and they work just as well with a little design on them as when they are shiney.Anything that would take stain out probably isn't good for brass. sam.

  3. rdale501

    rdale501 Guest

    I would try tumbling and see what they look like. I have been surprised a couple of times at what tumbling will remove.
  4. mosquitofish

    mosquitofish Guest

    I've tried dipps, with limited sucess. tumble the brass & inspect them. I've found if they are realy dark & old. they may have cracks.
  5. A really small suggestion

    Crack up some thin shell pecan hulls then put a few cases and an abundant amount of cracked hulls in a tumbler.

    Turn it on, leave it on, let nature (so to speak) take its course.
    Actually - check it after about two hours to see how its going.

    If polishing slows down it is time for some fresh cracked hulls.

    I know this sounds nutty :09: but I have found it to work.
  6. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    A big bucket of non-sweetened Orange Koolaid - "Bug Juice" as my old Senior Chief called it. I had the cleanest, shiniest and best smelling fire station brass on my Frigate. The stuff cleans any copper or brass, with no detrimental effect - it isn't strong enough tto alter the metal as stronger solvents might.
    Anything with ascetic acid will work actually - lemonaid, tomato juice, etc.
  7. rfc357

    rfc357 Guest

    I recommend not reloading any brass that has been out in the weather long enough to turn black.
  8. rondog

    rondog G&G Evangelist


    As in regular old orange Kool-Aid, but with no sugar added? I've heard of using citric acid, but can't find any.

    I almost ordered some IOSSO brass cleaner from Midway, but the S&H fees nearly doubled the price. Can't find it locally either.
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  9. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    The sugared stuff works - but why waste the money? Sugar ain't cheap! :09:
  10. rondog

    rondog G&G Evangelist

    So, Kool-Aid works, huh? I'm not looking to make the brass shiny and usable, just looking to clean the heavy oxidation off enough so that my tumbler and polish will finish 'em up. Just a "pre-soak", if you will. I tried some white vinegar and also CLR, but they both made the brass turn kinda pink, so I tossed 'em.
  11. Ron AKA

    Ron AKA Guest

    I have no idea if it is effective for cleaning up the tarnish, but one mild acid that is available at most hardware/plumbing stores is phosphoric acid. It is used in plumbing to clean up rusty pipes. Same stuff used in Coca-Cola, and you should be able to clean it up with water afterwards. I think the suggestions to carefully inspect your brass for cracking are a good idea.

  12. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    PINK brass! Oh, that is so... San Fransisco.... :09:
  13. rfc357

    rfc357 Guest

    Rondog, I have had such cases crumble in my hands.
  14. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

    Kool Aid works. It's what I use to clean copper and brass pots and pans.
  15. rondog

    rondog G&G Evangelist

    OK, I tried the orange KoolAid last night, and while the results were not spectacular, it did actually work somewhat, I'm amazed! I mixed it double strength, two packets to about 2-1/2 quarts of water, and let 'em soak for about 1 hour & 45 minutes.

    The really heavy deposits didn't clean off, but the lighter ones did. The cases were still ugly, but after running all night in fresh corncob media w/Frankford Arsenal brass polish, the majority polished up well. Had several that needed a little attention with Brasso and a rag. Still have some nasty ones to work on. Perhaps I should forego the double strength, and let 'em soak longer?

    FWIW, I broke down and called IOSSO this morning and ordered a gallon of their Brass Case Cleaner. It was cheaper from them than Midway, cheaper shipping anyway. That's supposed to be good shizz, so I'll keep my fingers crossed. I got the gallon because I don't need the bucket or mesh bag in their "kit".

    Yeah, that's why I tossed 'em. I looked at 'em and said "hmmmm, oh well".
    Last edited: May 23, 2008
  16. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    I rarely 'clean' my brass before reloading. I don't care if it's shiney, as long as it isn't crusty. If there is lots of loose crud, I knock it out or run a swab inside.
    I guess I'm just not that picky.
    I don't use really dark brass - got plenty that's fairly clean.
  17. sc928porsche

    sc928porsche G&G Newbie

    I am very fond of my reloading dies, so I clean my brass before starting any reloading process (after they are decapped with universal decapping die)
  18. Palladin8

    Palladin8 G&G Evangelist

    I use the Lyman Turbo Tumbler media. I think it's the walnut shells with jewlers rouge in it. A couple of hours in the tumbler and my darkest brass comes out pretty shiny.
  19. just_a_car

    just_a_car G&G Newbie

    Correction, lemonaid, tomato juice and Orange Koolaid have Citric Acid (as in "citrus" fruits).

    Acetic acid is what vinegar is made of (5% acetic acid by weight in water).

    -Your resident chemist (I'll have my degree on August 22nd).
  20. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    OOPS.... My bad - you are indeed correct, sir! :)
    Regarding cleaning - I do make sure it's not gunky and crusty before reloading, but just don't care about whether it's super shiney - it just gets tarnished again when shot.